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Entries in Fisherman's Daughter (1)

Thursday
Oct132011

Stolen Masterpiece Discovered, Returned to France After 90+ Years

US ICE(WASHINGTON) -- Missing for more than 90 years, the “Fisherman’s Daughter” is finally on her way home to France.

The Jules Breton painting was stolen from the Douai Beaux Art Museum in Northern France by German troops during the First World War and its fate was a mystery that haunted the art world for nearly a century.

Then last year, there was a break in the case. French officials and Interpol were alerted that the painting, valued today at about $150,000, had been imported by an art dealer in New York. The painting was recovered, but the mystery was not yet solved. Officials discovered the painting had been heavily restored, leading them to question the artwork's authenticity.

Art experts, curators and historians from France and the United States were called in to examine the painting and investigate its long and clandestine history. After a close examination of records and documentation, both in the United States and in France, and visits to museums and key witnesses, the story of the painting emerged.

It was indeed the same painting stolen from the Douai museum in 1918 -- the authentic “Fisherman’s Daughter.”

It was discovered that during the German occupation of the northern part of the country. German troops confiscated artwork from the Douai Beaux Art Museum and sent the artwork to Mons, Belgium, and then to Brussels.

In 1919, the Belgian government organized the return of the French collection to France. However, “Fisherman’s Daughter” was not among the works.

No one is certain, but apparently the painting was stolen from the Belgian government prior to the collection being returned to France.

No one knows what happened to the painting after that, except for the fact that it was professionally restored. The painting was apparently in private hands recently, then turned up being imported to an art dealer in New York last year.

Thursday, U.S. officials returned the masterpiece to the French people at a ceremony in Washington attended by the French ambassador, ending the nearly century-long art mystery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio